You Should Never Put Wet Batter In An Air Fryer. Here's Why

If you're reading this, chances are, you already own an air fryer. According to the NPD Group, nearly 10 million Americans purchased air fryers between late May 2017 and mid-March 2019 (via New York Times). While consumers relish the idea of getting all the tasty benefits of fried food without the oil (and assumedly sans extra fat and calories), air fryers don't actually fry anything. According to Taste of Home, air fryers are basically countertop convection ovens that bake things faster due to their compact size.

Frying involves partially or fully submerging an item in hot oil or fat until it is golden brown and crisp, according to The Daily Meal. Clearly, this is not happening in an air fryer, which uses little to no oil in most cases. Similarly, inside a standard convection oven, there's no hot oil to set wet batter, so the batter drips off when the hot air of a convection oven blows around. Of course, if you can't successfully apply wet batter to foods that go into the air fryer, there must be a hack or two that allows you to mimic a fried taste.

How to fry foods in an air fryer

If you're absolutely craving the taste of fried food but only have an air fryer, there are ways around the no wet batter rule. Dipping fish or chicken into oil and coating it with seasoned flour appears to work like a charm (via Airfryer Bro). You can also transfer chicken directly from a buttermilk marinade into the flour, according to My Forking Life, making sure to spritz any visible flour spots with oil during the cooking process. A fried pork chop recipe from Skinnytaste suggests spritzing the air fryer basket with oil, dipping your protein in a beaten egg, again in a seasoned bread crumb mixture, and then spritzing the meat throughout the cook cycle.

Wet batter isn't the only conundrum when discussing air fryers. There are several mistakes we all make with these convenient, yet sometimes confusing, countertop electronics. Whether it's using too much – or too little – oil, overcrowding the basket, or skipping the preheat advice. Regardless, air fryers sure come in handy when reheating last night's leftovers or cooking tots for two.